Seaweeds contain many varied and commercially valuable components, from individual pigments and metabolites through to whole biomass, and yet they remain an under cultivated and underutilised commodity. Currently, commercial exploitation of seaweeds is predominantly limited to whole biomass consumption or single product extracts for the food industry. The development of a seaweed biorefinery, based around multiple products and services, could provide an important opportunity to exploit new and currently underexplored markets. Here, we assessed the native and invasive seaweeds on the South West coast of the UK to determine their characteristics and potential for exploitation through a biorefinery pipeline, looking at multiple components including pigments, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and other metabolites.
- Heavy metal